Miles Today: 12.8
Mile Marker: 5.5
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Yesterday Mom and I hiked to the top of Amicalola falls. This morning I decided to skip that section, because screw those 600 stairs, and start about 1.5 miles north at the top of the falls. This left me with about 7.3 miles of “Approach Trail” to get to Springer Mountain where the AT officially begins.
After an amazing send off with delicious food and champagne the night before, Rick dropped me off around 8:15 this morning and we said our final good byes. I headed North to Springer Mountain to get this thing started. I cleared the Approach Trail and made it to Springer by 11:30. I hiked on another 5.5 miles before I was tired and called it a day around 3:30.
I found a perfect spot to stealth camp by myself about a quarter mile off of the trail. I wanted a bit of peace and quiet for the first night to let everything sort of settle in and fully process what I'm about to undertake. That and I woke up at 5 AM and fully plan to go to sleep at 6:45 PM when the sun drops behind the mountains.
As for the hiking I could not have ask for a more perfect day to start. This morning it was in the mid 30s and the sun was shining and by the afternoon it was in the low 60s. Mom hiked the first 2 miles of the Approach Trail with me to see me off. I know some of you are now picturing her following me trying to pin mittens to my jacket and ensuring I packed enough food. On the contrary she was more excited for me to start than I was, and would have easily sprinted ahead of me if she weren't letting me set the pace. Knowing her she probably jogged back the whole way when she turned around. I did pack mittens though.
After she left I hiked without seeing anyone for about an hour. Everything sort of just melted away. All of the stress from planning is now over and I had an amazing day. While I mostly hiked alone I did meet some great people today. I met a couple of guys Joe and Jay on the approach trail and we spent the rest of the trial leap frogging each other. Once we got to the top Joe made sure I got pictures of me on Springer before I set off. I ran into a few thru hikers as well and one crazy guy hiking in sandals and doing a yo-yo (hiking there and back). Absolutely insane, but very welcoming.
So I'm exhausted and my feet are killing me, but I'm happy I'm here.